I have been actively following Covid since the start helping the government of Spain design a Covid fighting app and in the process dealing with many doctors, epidemiologists and experts. Still what is sad about Covid is that there every month we seem to have more unanswered questions. Here is a list of Covid mysteries that I put together, feel free to contribute.

1) Do children pass it on?

First it seemed they did not, now some studies says they do. Still to be determined.

2) Does it spread outdoors?

Again first it seemed it didn’t now some superspreader outdoor events are pointing that it is possible to have significant transmission outdoors.

3) Why are some people superspreaders?

Superspreaders play a key role but we really don’t understand what makes a person a superspreader other than they are.

4) Is a mask mandate enough?

Some countries like Sweden do not have mass mask wearing and do very well in the second wave. Are masks essential? They clearly seem to help but are they enough?

5) Are people who stop showing antibodies frequently susceptible to re

Many people who had Covid test negative on IgG and IgM a few months later. Does this mean they are susceptible to get re infected? Re infection cases are known but very rare.

6) Why did Sweden do better than Spain with its mask mandates and
severe lockdowns?

Is Covid unavoidable or are there clear policies that stop it short of shutting down the economy? Why do some countries do so much better than others? Not clear.

7) Is long Covid a lifelong challenge?

We have only had Covid for 9 months so how can we know how long Covid is. Will people still have Covid symptoms in 2030 of an illness they had a decade before?

8) Anosmia, why?

Theories abound that Covid infects the nervous system, the brain, but we really don’t seem to understand why anosmia is so common among Covid patients.

9) How did Sars CoV 2 originate?

Is it bat to another animal, to humans? Is it a lab? We don’t know.

10) Why does every Asian country, even chaotic ones like the
Philippines, do better than any European country?

This one baffles me. Philippines is so chaotic, so poorly managed as a country, so poor. Why do they do so much better than Belgium or Netherlands?

11) Is there herd immunity?

Many believe there isn’t and it is clear that some places like Madrid got hit hard in the first wave and the second wave. But other places didn’t.

12) And if there isn’t, how are vaccines supposed to work?

Vaccines are there to achieve herd immunity in a less complicated, less painful, less deadly way. If we don’t have herd immunity via infection how are we supposed to get it with a vaccine?

13) Why didn’t Western countries use the attenuated virus that China
used for the vaccines since it’s proven to work in flu, mumps,

The Chinese approach to vaccine development seems so proven, why are Western companies trying to reinvent the wheel with the vaccines? Is it because they need new IP?

14) When and how do monoclonal antibody cocktails work?

What explains the unreal recovery of Trump? Is it the Regeneron mab cocktail? And if so will these type of therapies only work very early in the illness? The Lilly cocktail was shown not to work well in more advance patients. Will mabs be like the morning after pill?

15) Why are superspreaders asymptomatic and what percentage of them
are pre symptomatic?

This has been a debate since the beginning. Are people who spread the virus the most about to get sick themselves? If so what percentage is?

16) Why does Covid spread from those without symptoms?

Is the success of Sars Cov 2 based on a virus that has figured out that humans spread it through speaking and not coughing?

17) Are rapid antigen tests good enough to stop asymptomatic contagious people?

If the key to stopping the pandemic is to detect people when they spread it but don’t know it, do we need to rapid test everyone once a week?

18) Why do so many people keep testing positive on PCR?

Many people who recovered from Covid keep testing positive for weeks or months, are they contagious? And why do they test positive while other recovered patients don’t?

19) Until when after symptoms are people contagious?

How long should quarantines be? If we make them too long people are afraid to test themselves and more likely to hide their symptoms.

20) What percentage of people are afraid to get tested because they
don’t want to be quarantined?

How successful are we at finding Covid? are positivity rates enough? Is contact tracing enough?

21) Do politicians really have the impact we believe they have on this
illness or does it have a “mind” of its own?

Covid has unfortunately become so politicized. We live in a world in which the left seems to care about Covid and the right about jobs. But does the virus listen to politics? Probably not.

22) To what extent is weather a significant factor in the spread of Covid?

Warm weather and its outdoor life seems to limit the spread of Covid but then you have situations like Manaos, in the middle of the Amazon as one of the cities with the most incidence of Covid in the world.

23) Do children give Covid to adults in a significant way or is it
mostly the other way around?

How safe is it to open schools? Are kids active contributors to the pandemic?

24) Why are obese people so common among the hospitalized, in ICU and
among the dead?

That the average BMI of Covid patients is higher than that of the population where they come from is well known. But why?

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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